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The Pros and Cons of Ultra-Unique Resumes


When you search “resume tips” on Google, you get 98,600,000 results. While there are some time-tested best practices for resumes, more people seem to be getting creative with theirs. In fact, unique resume presentation and delivery are making headlines and even going viral on social media.

Example 1: A Resume With a Surprise

Lukas Yla, a 25-year-old marketing professional, was seeking work in San Francisco. Instead of risking his resume getting tossed in the trash, he decided to make a statement — putting his resume, introduction and an explanation inside a box of specialty doughnuts. Then he posed as a delivery man and brought them to recruiters and the heads of companies where he most wanted to work.

Example 2: A Hyper-Customized Online Resume

Jeanne Hwang, a Harvard Business School graduate with six years of solid experience, wanted to work for Pinterest. She understood that in order to get noticed she would need to stand out, so she created what is essentially an online resume, but she did so via a Pinterest board. Each pin tells a little about her education, experience and what makes her unique. Her innovative approach caught the eyes of other companies, too, which according to earned her a job offer as Vice President of Marketing at Pintics, should Pinterest pass her by.

The Pros and Cons of Creative Resumes

Everyone can agree that these two examples show passion, enthusiasm and innovative thinking. They certainly can increase the chances that the right person sees it, which in turn ups the likelihood of an interview. It’s important, however, to be careful when taking a creative approach.

First, the non-traditional path can be risky. Make sure what you’re doing is likely to be appreciated. The last thing you want to do is annoy, or worse, offend anyone. Sending doughnuts to someone who has a life-threatening allergy to one of the ingredients, for example, would not make the intended impression.

Next, it seems like these types of creative approaches generally come from young professionals wanting to get noticed. Make sure your actions are appropriate for whatever company you’re targeting. For instance, a conservative company may not be impressed by creative resumes and interviewing styles.

This also brings up the point of applicant tracking systems. Certain ATS types are used by most businesses and many recruiters. Evaluation is dependent on an electronic resume submission. Make sure that in addition to a creative printed resume, you also submit an electronic version. Otherwise you may just be known as the doughnut dude.

Finally, make sure your efforts aren’t all show and no substance. Your resume must speak for itself, showcasing the important skills and qualities you bring to the table. If you don’t have what it takes to do the job well, it doesn’t matter how fancy the presentation. The better candidate will win.

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